S. Korea experiences downward virus trend, airport checks widened

A worker sprays disinfectant in front of the Daenam Hospital in Cheongdo. (AP pic)

SEOUL: South Korea on Sunday reported 76 new coronavirus cases and three more deaths, a fall in new cases to double-digits for the first time in over three weeks.

South Korea, which has the highest number of cases in Asia after China, now has a total to 8,162 confirmed infections and 75 deaths, the Korea Centres for Disease Control and Prevention said (KCDC).

South Korea has been experiencing a downward trend in new cases and the latest numbers are significantly lower than the peak of 909 cases reported on Feb 29 and down from the 107 recorded on Saturday.

Forty-one of the new cases were from the city of Daegu, the epicentre of the country’s outbreak.

A total of 120 patients were released from hospitals and for the third day in a row the daily number of those recovered exceeded that of new confirmed cases since South Korea’s first case was confirmed on Jan 20.

Starting Sunday, South Korea began to subject visitors from France, Germany, Britain, Spain and the Netherlands to stricter border checks, after imposing similar rules for China, Italy and Iran suffering a major outbreak.

Apart from measuring temperature at the airport, visitors from those countries now need to download an app the South Korean government rolled out to report whether they have any symptoms related to the virus everyday.

South Korea has been testing hundreds of thousands of people and tracking potential carriers like detectives, using cell phone and satellite technology.